Thursday, January 8, 2009

First week of work...DONE!

I've officially completed my first week of work. It all feels a bit more real now...I know some of my coworkers, I've interacted with dozens of students, I've even done a little academic advising and a couple short career counseling sessions! It's been a good week overall. I wish I could put into words what it's like living here- 10 days into the experience. At times it feels surreal. I look out my office window and see the beautiful water of the Persian Gulf. I walk down the streets and am surrounded by men in the dishdash (full length white robes) and keffiyahs (head covering) and women ranging from normal western wear (although usually dressed to the nines in every designer label imaginable!) to the full head and body covering. Many of the girls on campus go without the headscarf, or just wear the simple covering. But at the mall, I saw dozens of women that were completely covered except their eyes...we even saw one woman who was wearing the ultra-conservative covering that includes the veil over her eyes! The culture is a study in contrasts- conservative and liberal...western and eastern. But in the midst of all this, life is beginning to gain a semblance of normalcy. I have a driver (basically, a taxi driver who takes me to work every morning and who is available for things like driving me to church). I know how to give directions back to my house. I scoped out the local hole-in-the-wall store where I can buy bottled water and freshly baked bread. Normalcy and surrealism battle through every moment of the day. It's like sitting in a session with students where the language flows in an uninterrupted pattern of english and arabic. Words mixed together in every single sentence. Honestly, by the time I get home at the end of the day, my brain is completely fried...but I love it. It's different and hard and good and lonely and exciting...

I thought it would be fun to post a few pictures of my office for your viewing pleasure. The outside shots are the view from my office window. The water is the Persian Gulf. You'll notice tall modern buildings (they're building a mall- one of about a million in this city- near our campus). You'll also notice empty lots and piles of concrete. Kuwait City is metamorphosing at the speed of light. Old (and sometimes not so old!) buildings are being torn down and sleek modern buildings are being built. Many of these buildings stand empty- construction racing ahead of demand. Since the end of Saddam Hussein, Kuwait has finally felt safe enough to start building without the fear of another Iraq invasion...so who knows what this city will look like in 5 or 10 years! I also included a few shots of my actual office. And the comfy looking couch area is a large space that sits in the middle of our offices...couches and chairs and tables arranged so that students can hang out while they're waiting to see us (for career services, academic advising, personal counseling, etc). Enjoy!








2 comments:

jerilyn said...

HI Amy, good to hear form you. I love your blog and pictures. It is so good to hear news from the MIddle east
Peace,
Jerilyn

Pavan said...

Hi Amy, Really Interesting,I too love your blog and pictures...